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      11-07-2012, 03:40 PM   #1
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Post F31 330d touring reviewed against A4 3.0 TDI Avant and C350 CDI

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The BMW 330d Touring goes head-to-head with its Mercedes and Audi rivals

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The ever-growing glut of crossovers, SUVs and MPVs means that traditional compact family estates are often overlooked. Yet these practical and handsome machines are every bit as family friendly and desirable as their fashionable rivals – especially when they feature a premium badge on the bonnet.

BMW is certainly hoping its all-new 3 Series Touring can make a big splash in this market. The car has a bigger boot and more spacious cabin than its predecessor, and should build on the class-leading success of its saloon brother. As with every BMW, the Touring also aims to be great to drive, well built and cost-effective. We test it in range-topping 37,200 330d Luxury guise.

However, before BMW can start popping the champagne corks, the Touring must face a pair of talented rivals. First up is our current favourite in the upmarket compact estate class: the Mercedes C-Class. It’s spacious, comfortable and beautifully built, and is the latest in a long line of fine Merc estates.

Finally, there’s the facelifted Audi A4 Avant, which promises lower emissions and sharper handling than before. It’s also the only car here with the security of four-wheel drive.

Verdict

On paper, these three desirable estates are evenly matched. It doesn’t take long with a tape measure and calculator to realise that each has been carefully benchmarked against the other. Yet in the final reckoning, the BMW takes a surprisingly comfortable victory.

While it’s barely any bigger than the Mercedes or Audi, the 3 Series is faster and sharper to drive, plus it uses much less fuel, is cheaper to tax and costs less to service.

Factor in desirable details such as the separate-opening glass tailgate, and the Touring takes a well deserved win.

Separating the Audi and Mercedes is tougher. The A4 is more engaging and boasts a brilliant four-wheel-drive system, but it also has a smaller boot and is hobbled by a firm ride – and when it comes to family friendly estates, hardcore driving dynamics should take a back seat to comfort. As a result, the refined and roomy Mercedes edges into second place.

Yet both have to give best to the BMW, which in 330d form is all the compact estate you’ll need.
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      11-07-2012, 09:15 PM   #2
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that was a no brainer!
I can't wait for the new diesel line up to arrive in CANADA!
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      11-07-2012, 09:15 PM   #3
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Bravo BMW!
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      11-07-2012, 09:23 PM   #4
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I would love to get this over in the US. Probably not happening because we get 'crossovers' and 'Sport activity vehicles' instead of a honest-to-god wagon.

That said, was this review written for twitter? :P
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      11-07-2012, 09:31 PM   #5
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Anyone know what engine is the 330d using?

Edit: I think its the diesel inline 6. That engine will def not be in the NA touring car. It'll be in the 5/7/X5 series.

I expect we will get the 320d here in NA. The 180 hp diesel 4.
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      11-07-2012, 09:42 PM   #6
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Can't wait for these to come stateside. This will be a great replacement for ex-E39 Touring owners.
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      11-07-2012, 09:58 PM   #7
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That would be great if the diesel wagon makes it over here.
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      11-07-2012, 10:24 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by b33g33 View Post
I would love to get this over in the US. Probably not happening because we get 'crossovers' and 'Sport activity vehicles' instead of a honest-to-god wagon.

That said, was this review written for twitter? :P
Haven't you seen any of the front page news lately on Bimmerpost homepage?

Yes the F31 is coming. And yes, it's coming with a diesel engine too. How'd you miss that? Haha
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      11-07-2012, 11:38 PM   #9
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It would have been perfect, if it only had xdrive. Any info on when is BMW planning to add xdrive models?
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      11-08-2012, 12:51 AM   #10
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      11-08-2012, 02:07 AM   #11
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typically a diesel estate is for families, a petrol sedan is for single men driving about.

Problem with family estates is that for a little bit more you can get a cross over SUV thing which, if looks good, is a better and safer proposition for a family guy (sit higher up, etc). Plus you more often get the awd option on them, which again in cold climates is a plus.

Frankly the new petrols they have are impressive - but still thirsty when pushed.
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      11-08-2012, 03:36 AM   #12
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You guys have no idea, see an M Sport Touring in person and you will seriously question the Sedan. Somehow this new design gets all it's pieces in place with the Touring, I think it's visually longer body flows better with the F3x long hood. No roof rails and it's a win!
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      11-08-2012, 03:56 AM   #13
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Every report I've read so far says the estate doesn't have the feel or the handling of the saloon. If this is your "main car" then yeah, it's worth the compromise but lots of people have a 4x4 or an MPV in the family too for kiddies and whatnot so it's saloon all the way in that case

Part of my wishes I'd ordered an F31 then we could bin the wife's MPV and get a sports car but then I remember I've got an F30 coming next week and let a bit more wee out again
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      11-08-2012, 04:31 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaestroAl View Post
Every report I've read so far says the estate doesn't have the feel or the handling of the saloon. If this is your "main car" then yeah, it's worth the compromise but lots of people have a 4x4 or an MPV in the family too for kiddies and whatnot so it's saloon all the way in that case

Part of my wishes I'd ordered an F31 then we could bin the wife's MPV and get a sports car but then I remember I've got an F30 coming next week and let a bit more wee out again
And where do u have these fine reports? Guess the Top Gear review is total bull then, no way could they actually be sayin that the TOURING feels sharper than the Sedan, that it has stiffer rear suspension etc.. those guys don't know crap, thank God we have the Maestrominator to tell us different
Sarcacsm n kidding aside, I think you're way off with your verdict based on...?
Try one

http://www.f30post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=735076
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Last edited by Vitoco; 11-08-2012 at 04:48 AM.
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      11-08-2012, 04:43 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sparkyg View Post
Anyone know what engine is the 330d using?

Edit: I think its the diesel inline 6. That engine will def not be in the NA touring car. It'll be in the 5/7/X5 series.

I expect we will get the 320d here in NA. The 180 hp diesel 4.
It's the "to die for" 3L I6 190kw @ 4000, 560nm @ 2000-2750 engine. The same as in the latest 530d (used to be 180kw;540nm), in the X3, (in the x5 it's the 180kw one), and in the 7 series.
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      11-08-2012, 04:43 AM   #16
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I always wonder where the US idiom "station wagon" came from.
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      11-08-2012, 04:58 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vitoco View Post
And where do u have these fine reports? Guess the Top Gear review is total bull then, no way could they actually be sayin that the TOURING feels sharper than the Sedan, that it has stiffer rear suspension etc.. those guys don't know crap, thank God we have the Maestrominator to tell us different
Sarcacsm n kidding aside, I think you're way off with your verdict based on...?
Try one

http://www.f30post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=735076
Based on every review we've read on this forum so far ...
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      11-08-2012, 05:00 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diver View Post
I always wonder where the US idiom "station wagon" came from.
I wandered about this as well. Estate, Kombi (combi), Estate, Touring and Avant is much better.
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      11-08-2012, 05:09 AM   #19
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.... no way could they actually be sayin that the TOURING feels sharper than the Sedan, that it has stiffer rear suspension etc..
I translate that to mean (due to experience in the E91 with the same issue) as "not quite so refined", "more of a fidget" and "less composed over our typical UK roads".... compared to the saloon.

I'm yet to try an F31 touring, but most UK reviews hint at the firmer rear suspension of tourings, just taking the edge off off the saloon ride/handling balance. Was just the same for the E90/1. Tourings just don't work quite so well, until there is a bit of load in the boot.

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      11-08-2012, 06:44 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaestroAl View Post
Based on every review we've read on this forum so far ...
Well Maestro, you should try one and see for yourself. Youre giving it much less credit than it truly deservs, that might scare of some people here making them choose the F30 just cause they think the F31 handles bad.

I had an F30 Sport Line for 3 weeks as a loaner, its go nothing on my Touring with adaptive dampers. Seriously, this car handles light years better than my former E90 M Sport. Im even loving the steering on this car and let me tell you, I was one who cursed the EPS when I had the loaner but now im just loving the firm sport setting (i dont have VSS, only adap. chassi)

And about the stiffness of the wagon, swedish reviewers said the adaptive chassi makes it way better and is a must on the Touring.

So, I think Im a pretty good judge bout this considering I had both the Sedan and the Touring for almost 3 weeks each. Im pretty sure the Sedan with adaptive dampers would be a full 10 but relatively Id give the Touring nothing less than 9.25 whereas the F30 with m sport susp. gets an 8
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      11-08-2012, 07:33 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaestroAl View Post
Based on every review we've read on this forum so far ...
I've read a few F30/31 330d reviews and it's not only the F31vs F30 in chassis/ride terms: It's more about the much heavier 3.0d engine upfront vs the 320d which makes the 330d less agile, the F30 included...

The same story goes for the 335i vs 328i in terms of balance/handling off course...
Edit : According to bmw.de a F30 330d weighs about 110kgs more than a 320d. A 335i weighs about 80kgs more than a 328i....

Cheers
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      11-08-2012, 08:05 AM   #22
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Quote:
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typically a diesel estate is for families, a petrol sedan is for single men driving about.

Problem with family estates is that for a little bit more you can get a cross over SUV thing which, if looks good, is a better and safer proposition for a family guy (sit higher up, etc). Plus you more often get the awd option on them, which again in cold climates is a plus.
I like diesel estates (sports wagons) because they are more economical in terms of tax and mpg. You loose the off-road capabilities, but instead get less drag, weight and so which improves mpg. Loosing the all wheel drive also improves mpg. Anything that worsens mpg is bad when fuel prices are almost twice those in the US/China.

And why not get the estate? The sedan is already a 4 door and not exactly a single-seat race car anyway. Even the coupe versions weigh almost the same, and handling differences shouldn't be that major. I think the BMW estates look very very good, and for any young single man, looking like a "family-type" is actually not a bad thing!

Many males naturally buy cars that other males like. Then later they do not understand why they only get admiration from this group of people...

I think many girls like SUVs because they are bigger. They feel they are safer and easier to drive. But while a bigger car may look safer, if you think about it, it will be harder to stop and easier to roll if involved in a motorway accident. Anyhow in countries like the US and China, where fuel is cheaper, and bigger is just sometimes better, SUVs are preferred over estates. This "bigger is better", I guess, also explains why the 6-series is larger than the 3-series coupe. There is an image attached driving bigger cars of the same brand... Even if it offers little sense, from an engineering point of view, people just like to pay for this. This is probably also why BMWs always grow a little in size with each generation.
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Last edited by Asbjorn; 11-08-2012 at 11:00 AM.
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